How to ensure sustainable success

Sustainable success is not about chasing short-term wins or external validation.

It’s about cultivating a mindset and a practice that aligns with your values and purpose.

Here are some principles and habits that can help you achieve it:

  1. Define success for yourself.
    1. Don’t let society, culture, or others dictate what success means to you.
    2. Success is subjective and personal.
    3. It’s based on what matters to you, not what others think of you.
  2. Stay rooted in reality.
    1. Too often, we overreact to the inconsequential. We mistake a minor inconvenience for an actual emergency.
    2. When we aren’t rooted in reality, we risk losing ourselves in ego, anxiety, or distraction.
    3. Doing real things in the real world with real people is the antidote.
    4. Ground yourself in the real world with real people.
  3. Focus on the process, not the outcome.
    1. The process is what you can control and improve.
    2. The outcome is often influenced by factors beyond your control. Obsessing over the outcome often leads to anxiety, disappointment, or burnout.
    3. Process goals are specific actions that you can take to improve your skills or performance.
    4. Outcome goals are results that you want to achieve.
    5. For example, a process goal is to write for an hour every day. An outcome goal is to publish a best-selling book.
  4. Balance stress and rest.
    1. Stress is not inherently bad.
    2. It can stimulate growth and adaptation if it is followed by adequate rest and recovery.
    3. Rest is not inherently good.
    4. It can lead to stagnation and decay if it is not preceded by sufficient stress and challenge.
    5. The magic is in the balance of stress and rest:
      1. Listen to your body and mind
      2. Take on just manageable challenges
      3. Vary the intensity and duration of your work
      4. Schedule regular breaks and downtime
      5. Prioritize sleep and nutrition
  5. Manage your energy.
    1. The most successful people I know are not the ones who work the hardest or longest
    2. They are the ones who work the smartest and the most sustainably. They know when to push and when to pull back.
    3. They know how to manage their energy and attention.
  6. Success is a process of trial and error.
    1. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for success.
    2. What works for someone else may not work for you.
    3. The only way to find out what works for you is to try different things, observe the results, and adjust accordingly.
  7. Embrace the messiness of progress
    1. Growth is not linear.
    2. It’s often messy and unpredictable.
    3. Sometimes you make progress, sometimes you regress. Sometimes you feel confident, sometimes you feel doubtful.
    4. Delusions of linear progress get in the way.
  8. Stop over-relying on willpower
    1. Environment and systems shape your behavior more than you realize.
    2. Make it easy to do the things you want to do and hard to do the things you don’t want to do.
    3. Make sure your environment is supporting long-term work, not getting in the way.